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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2013)  (CC)  

    January 4, 2013
    4:00 - 5:00pm PST  

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from the house of representatives. and fompler pennsylvania governor is an msnbc political analyst. gentlemen, i want to show you three quick things. first, in a meeting with this republican today, here's what he said. number two, fighting a partial government shut down, he said the coming deadlines will be the next flash points in our on going fight to bring fiscal sanity to washington. it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long term fiscal well being of our country
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rather than plot along the path of greece, italy and spain. president obama needs to take note of this reality and put forth a plan to avoid it immediately. and finally, pat toomey voiced the same sentiment earlier this week on morning joe. >> our opportunity here is on the debt ceiling. the president has made it very clear. he doesn't even want to have a discussion about it because he knows this is where we have leverage. we republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown, which is what that could mean. >> governor, i don't doubt that 72% want to see the spending cuts. if they don't lift the debt ceiling, the economy shuts down.
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not only the u.s. economy, maybe the world economy. the consequences are drastic. look, the bottom line on this, michael, and you know this, nobody should be threatening or rattling sabers. everyone. president obama, harry reid, everyone knows we need significant spending cuts. it's about time we act maturely and get together and try to find out what the spending cuts that we have to make can be made in the least onerous way for the american people. we also need to raise more revenue. the fiscal cliff only raised $600 billion of revenue. we need to raise another $600 billion in revenue and we've got to find a way to do that, as well. >> i constantly, in my role as a talk radio host, hear the spending is out of control. and if this is spun as republicans standing up to all of that spending and saying enough is enough, i think the win could be at the gop's back. >> well, i don't know that the wind is at our back.
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first of all, governor, nice to see you again. i would tell you that spending is the problem, but where we missed the boat is by resisting on the tax side so long that it became about the taxes that the governor lost. and we're still borrowing $1 trillion. but the governor hits the right tone. people have been afraid to look for that common ground. i happen to be a simpson/bowles supporter, and we really need the big deal to fix the country. >> governor, i think that many people don't appreciate the fact, don't understand the fact that when we talk about the debt ceiling, we're talking about bills accrued. this gets a little complicated in the messaging is my point. >> sure. but i think it will be clear to the american public by the time the debt ceiling -- let's assume we don't lift the debt ceiling.
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it will be clear because wall street will make it clear, the banking community will make it clear what the ramifications are to americans by not lifting the debt ceiling. and you're right, mike, all this is about, as the president said, is paying for the bills that congress has already voted to fund. and it's not lifting the debt ceiling to pay for future spending. it's to pay for the bills that we've already accrued. but regardless of that, regardless of that, the people want us to get together and do something. it's why i was sad to see steve decide not to run for re-election because we need republicans, we need more republicans who are going to stand in there and say, yes, spending is the issue, but we've got to realize that we've got to have reasonable revenue that comes into the mix, and we've got to look at everything. when it comes to spending, defense cannot be a sacred cow. we have to look at everything, and we have to have legitimate entitlement reform. and on our side, mike, we have got to do this. i was on "the cycle," one of msnbc's shows, and i suggested that raising the age on medicare
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given the fact we're living longer isn't a necessarily bad idea. the three progressive hosts, you would have thought that i proposed treason to the american government. >> congressman, let me ask you a question about your next endeavor. politico pointed out the republican party has a primary problem. gop primary voters have become so conservative that they're nominating candidates who are losing winnable elections. in the past two cycles, these five candidates lost senate elections that should have been walkovers for republicans and would have given them a majority in the senate. delaware's christine o'donnell, colorado's ken buck, nevada's sharron angle, missouri's todd akin, and indiana's richard mourdock, and then you add in the fact that the rightward leaning gop electorate has also attracted some fringy candidates to the presidential race who led according to the polls at different points. let's take a quick walk down memory lane and revisit these names and faces. donald trump led at one point, michele bachmann led at one point, rick perry, herman cain, newt gingrich, rick santorum. what do they have in common? they were leading in the polls.
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what's your prescription for this primary problem? >> well, my next endeavor, the nonpaying one, is going to be to head up the republican main street partnership to give comfort and cover to both center right republicans and center left, i guess, democrats to stand up from the fringe groups on the right and left who have the courage to do the right thing. you know, if governor rendell and i were in charge, we would have fixed this thing in about a week and a half, and everybody knows what the solutions are. but people are scared to death when these votes come up that a group like heritage action or club for growth or one of these other organizations will come in and sort of carpet bomb them and there's no cover for those folks, and my goal is to create a place for them to be. >> you say everybody knows what the solutions are. i don't know what the solutions
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are. i think part of the problem, and governor, weigh in on this, is that in a closed primary system, the ideologues come out, and there's been an exodus i think of people like me. i'm one of the people you need to try to woo back, and, therefore, the only folks coming out are very conservative, and who do they nominate? they nominate the christine o'donnells. governor rendell, you know mike castle would have won that seat in a cake walk. >> going away. but michael, it's because all the money in primaries comes from the club for growth, comes from the tea party. there hasn't been any moderate to right money that weighs in on behalf of the moderate to right republican candidates. that's why what main street is trying to do i think is so important. and, look, even if it means there are a few more republicans in the senate, in the congress, if they're reasonable republicans who are moderate conservatives, then that's a good prescription for america. we need people who are going to work together, and lord knows talk about any poll you want, michael, the exit polls showed 73% of the american people, overwhelming majority, want us to compromise, want us to get things done. >> congressman, might a potential solution be that which they're doing.
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governor schwarzenegger i think deserves credit in california where its top two finishers then ysquare off in a general election regardless of party affiliation. is that the sort of thing you'd embrace for the gop to try to break free of the stranglehold that extremists have on the primary process? >> as i looked at the california races, i don't think they produced the best results with this sort of jungle primary. i think there needs to be a republican and democrat facing off. the challenge is in the primaries with the way the districts are configured. there's really no motivation for a lot of members of congress to come to the center because their districts have been drawn in such a way they're either bright red or bright blue. so they're busy defending themselves from a potential primary challenge rather than worrying about the november election, and we often say up here most members of congress are going to be re-elected unless they get caught with a live sheep or a dead girl, and it shouldn't be that way. you should have to talk to about issues. >> nate silver pointed out recently there are probably 35
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competitive districts out of 435. thank you, congressman steve latourette. thank you, governor rendell. >> thanks. coming up, the house finally got around to voting on an aid package for the victims of hurricane sandy. it might sound like a no-brainer, but the conservative club for growth promised to punish anyone who voted for it, and 67 republicans voted it down. that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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vice president biden presided over a joint session of congress today to officially count the electoral votes for president. it's a formality required under the u.s. code, but it's worth noting this fact. according to the official tally from november's election, president obama won 51.1% of the popular vote to mitt romney's, get this, 47.2%. and that makes obama the first president since dwight
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eisenhower to win at least 51% of the vote in back-to-back elections, and he's the first democrat to do so since fdr. we'll be right back. you know that little 50-pound thingy at the doctor's office when they weigh you, and they have to move it over? my doctor does not have to do that anymore. [ male announcer ] for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. feels great. [ male announcer ] simple. effective. take that, 50 pound thingy. let's fight fat with alli. learn more, lose more at letsfightfat.com.
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welcome back to "hardball." after a week in which lawmakers from the northeast, democrats and republicans, were livid that speaker john boehner pulled a vote on hurricane sandy aid, the house finally got around to voting on it today. it overwhelmingly approved nearly $10 billion for flood insurance, but not before a number of frustrated congressmen said it was about time. >> this legislation is vital. this is not a handout. this is not something we're looking for as a favor. >> this action by the house republican leadership is too little and too late. >> these are human beings, human beings, children that have been completely displaced, and it's up to us to get them back on their feet. >> this is a total, total disaster in helping those people that we are pompously saying and pontificating about we're helping them. isn't that wonderful? what's our jobs? we're not doing anybody any favors. that's why we were sent here.
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try it once in a while, democracy. you might like it. >> still, the bill has its critics on the right. the club for growth encouraged republicans to vote against the aid, and 67 members of congress, all of them republicans, voted no. joining me, communications director for the club for growth, barney keller, and ron reagan, author and msnbc contributor. mr. keller, let me start with you. what's the nature of the opposition to the club for growth to this aid package? >> thanks for having me, michael. first, i should say that the club wants the victims of sandy to get the relief that they need from the government, but, unfortunately, what happens is every time the government has a disaster relief bill, what they do is come up with a big spending bill. it's not paid for. there's no accountability or oversight, and it's loaded with pork. i'm afraid that's what we saw in the senate bill. i'm afraid that's what we're
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going to see going forward is another big spending bill that isn't paid for, isn't offset with anything -- >> to be clear, because i was confused about this, the house version did not have pork. we can agree on that, right? >> well, the bill that passed today was just an extension of flood insurance, but it wasn't paid for again. pork is just one of the many issues that were in the big senate bill that governor christie and others were upset about and members of congress -- >> so i'm clear, if this were a funding bill for nails to be used in shingles for people's roofs, you'd have still been against it on the basis that there was no offset. it's the offset, not the nature of what it was, that drives your opposition. is that true? >> well, no. that's not entirely true. in today's bill the nature was just that it wasn't offset. the offset is just one of the many things. we think that the bill could be parcelled out into smaller chunks. there's no reason why the government has to go and appropriate $10 billion in one day. we don't know if that money is
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going directly to sandy victims. you know, the flood insurance program itself is broken. people should be asking why people are paying premiums, but yet the fund doesn't have enough money to pay out the claims. these are fundamental problems, and every time we get into a disaster, we do the exact same thing. we keep kicking the can down the road and asking our children to pay for it. that's what we're doing -- >> let me ask ron reagan to weigh in. ron, after the senate early passed its version of the sandy aid bill, senators john mccain and tom coburn put out a list of what they call questionable spending in it, including, for example, $2 million to repair damage to the roofs of museums in washington, d.c., while many in hurricane sandy's path still have no roof over their heads. $150 million for fisheries as far away from the storm's path as alaska. $15 million for nasa facilities though nasa itself has called damage from the hurricane minimal. all of those provisions were stripped from the bill the house approved today. i want to underscore that. it was pork-free. ron reagan, what do you make of this? >> well, as far as those
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provisions being in there in the first place, unfortunately, that's how sausages are made in washington, d.c. let's remember, we're talking about an appropriation that is some 10,000 million dollars. you cited less than $200 million out of that that is questionable. it was stripped out, but even if it wasn't stripped out, even if that was the price you pay for greasing the skids of government to get needed aid to people, i would argue that it is necessary, that you must do that. it's unfortunate, but we must do that. now, look, if you want to have a discussion about flood insurance in this country or what fema does or how it does it or how effectively it does it, that's fine. but you don't do it when you have thousands of people in desperate need. you don't hold those people hostage in a sense to your ideological predispositions. that is an ugly, thuggish way to do business. >> barney, he's essentially saying when the house is on fire, put the water on it, and then sort this out. >> that's not entirely fair. what ron neglects to mention is the reason the house has broken
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up this sandy relief bill into three different parts is because they also want a $33 billion appropriation to go towards future disaster mitigation projects. now, i don't know exactly how that $33 billion is supposed to grease the skids of washington. i guess i can think of a couple different ways, but, you know, again, we can't keep adding money to the debt that we don't have. we can't keep borrowing money from china to pay for it -- >> is there something wrong with disaster mitigation? future disaster mitigation? i think that would probably be a pretty good idea. >> ron, i don't understand how building levees five years down the future in new york helps a person who is looking for disaster relief right now homeless on the street. >> what's wrong with thinking ahead? i don't really understand -- >> then it should be
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considered -- >> -- so upset the government would spend money without any offsets. you must have been absolutely furious about the wars in iraq and afghanistan. >> we're furious about all the profligate spending that went on. >> barney, one question if i might. for consistency, was this your position on katrina? >> yeah. we opposed the katrina relief bill. it wasn't offset. look what happened to the hurricane katrina bill. they passed a huge spending bill. it wasn't offset, no accountability. afterwards we heard stories about fema trailers being untouched while people were starving in the street. >> ron reagan, if i can make an additional point reflecting on the first segment of the program. there are votes and there are key votes. club for growth says this is a key vote, which means it factors in -- barney, correct me if i'm wrong -- it factors into the rating they give to members -- >> that's correct. >> and so, therefore, ron reagan, this plays a role in primary season. you know, this is the sort of thing where if you voted for that, you got lesser of a score for the club for growth.
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you've increased the odds you will draw a republican opponent in the next midterm election. >> yes, i understand, and that is the threat, of course, but again playing that sort of game when you've got people in need just seems to me to be strangely ugly, and it puts republican candidates, forget about the democrats, it puts republican candidates in a very difficult position. they have to toady to the club for growth and not vote their conscience i imagine in many instances. many of these republicans i assume really wanted to help people, but they felt like they couldn't because they'd pay politically down the line. >> barney, respond to that. it reminds me of the whole grover norquist issue and the pledge against tax increases. >> well, i would just say that the problem with republicans is that they don't act like republicans. you know, people send republicans to washington supposedly to cut taxes and limit government. after the fiscal cliff deal they voted for, if they had voted for the sandy bill, they would have voted to increase taxes and expand government. so i think the republican party, you know, if they're really serious about saving america from its debt crisis, i'm a young guy, but i'm not too old to remember when the national debt was $14.6 trillion.
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that was just last august. we just hit the debt ceiling at $16.4 trillion. again, we can't -- >> ron reagan, a quick final word. >> listen, the republican administration that preceded the obama administration is responsible for most of our debt -- >> absolutely they are. absolutely they are. >> indeed. >> we helped get rid -- >> there you go, common ground. >> you don't hold people that are suffering hostage. >> thank you, both. >> not the right way to go. >> thank you, ron reagan and barney keller. we appreciate you both. michele bachmann is trying to do something that's failed the previous 33 times it's been attempted. that's next in the "sideshow." remember, if you want to follow me on twitter, you just need to figure out how to spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i called the car myself.
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." first, photo-op, photo shopped. no doubt nancy pelosi is proud the house democratic caucus for the 113th congress has more female members than any previous session. a photo-op of the congresswomen took a photo-op and pelosi later posted this image. the problem, those four women at the top were not at the photo-op.
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they got there eventually, but it was late, everybody was cold. it's a case of the photo shop, and people noticed. today pelosi was asked if the photo could really be taken as an accurate historical record. >> it was an accurate historical record of who the democratic women of congress are. it's an accurate record it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and that they had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. it wasn't like we had the rest of the day to stand there. >> evidently they were running a tight ship. next, out with the old, on with the old news. any guesses what the first bill introduced in the 113th congress happened to be about? a couple hints. house republicans have done this
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before. in fact, 33 times. all of them unsuccessful. here is another hint. michele bachmann was behind it this time. she broke the news on twitter yesterday saying, quote, i introduced the first bill of the 113th congress to repeal obama care in its entirety. somehow i just don't think the 34th time is going to be the charm. next, it's everybody's dream to walk into a deli and find out that a sandwich has been named after you, right? well, not in this case. if the words total baloney sum up your thoughts about how congress handled all the fiscal cliff chaos, you will want to head to virginia's roanoke bagel company and order the congressional sandwich special. it's a mostly baloney sandwich. one of the shop's owners gave the scoop on how the sandwich made the menu. >> listening to the nonsense and, you know, waiting for congress as we always do and waiting and waiting and waiting. we had ordered bologna. i thought we needed to do a bologna sandwich.
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>> the congressional sandwich is, for now at least, a limited time offer. finally, has capitol hill really seen the last of barney frank? yesterday marked his final day as a massachusetts congressman, but apparently frank is game to prolong things a bit. on "morning joe" today frank broke the news he wants to take on the position of interim senator when john kerry becomes secretary of state. >> a month ago and a few weeks ago in fact, i said i wasn't interested, which is kind of like you're about to graduate and they said you have to go to summer school. but that deal now means that february, march, and april are going to be among the most important months in american financial -- >> so you're considering it. >> yes. in fact, i'm not going to be coy. it's not anything i've ever been good at. i have told the governor i would now like, frankly, to do that. >> frank's version of summer school, as he put it, would last until a special election takes place for the seat most likely this summer. up next, "zero dark thirty," the senate is looking into whether the filmmakers behind
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the movie about the killing of bin laden had inappropriate access to confidential cia information. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. check out my new treadmill app. pretty sweet, huh? cute. but don't you have any apps on your phone that can make your life easier? who do you think i am, quicken loans? at quicken loans, we'll provide you with myql mobile. this amazingly useful app allows you to take pictures of your mortgage documents using an iphone or android smart phone... so you can easily send them to us. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. ooh, la-la!
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goods evening, here's what's happening. the pakistani team who was gunned down by taliban walked out of the hospital today. she will remain in britain as she continues to recover. jts back here in the states, the cdc is recording the biggest bump of flu for an extremely rough winter. a bang-up week on wall street. now, back to "hardball.
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welcome back to "hardball." the controversial new movie "zero dark thirty" about the hunt for osama bin laden has already racked up a slew of critical praise and oscar buzz, but it's also received some real world criticism from its depiction of torture as a key element in finding bin laden. now it has sparked a senate investigation. senators dianne feinstein, carl levin, and john mccain want to know whether the cia provided misinformation to filmmakers. in a statement yesterday the three senators wrote, given the cia's cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative's consistency with past public misstatements by former senior cia officials, the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by the cia. so what are the facts about the role enhanced interrogation played in the investigation? how accurate or inaccurate is the movie? roger cressey is a former white house counterterrorism official and an nbc news terrorism analyst, and david corn is the washington bureau chief for "mother jones" and an msnbc political analyst. roger, the reason why i think the filmmakers can't just say, well, it's a movie, is because when i went to see it, the first words that came up on the screen said, based on firsthand accounts of actual events.
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which tells me as a filmgoer you're about to see the way it really went down. >> right, and that, of course, that's hollywood's way of trying to suck you in to be a little misleading at the same time. michael, anyone who is relying on hollywood for an accurate depiction of foreign policy should have their head examined. i was there at the white house on 9/11. i saw how the events of 9/11 were portrayed. there was a lot of healthy liberal, if you will, not in the political way, use of the facts. we need to keep that in mind first and foremost. i think what you have seen so far in some of the commentary is there is some accuracy in how they portrayed the broader story, the narrative of how long it took to get bin laden and all the different pieces. the scenes at the beginning on
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torture clearly were taken not accurately from what we know how enhanced interrogation was done, but the viewer is left with a certain image and that, of course, is the big issue. >> i'm telling you 2 1/2 hours later you walk out and you say, we kicked the crap out of that guy and, therefore, we're able to kill bin laden. david, here is the interesting thing. the insiders can't agree. three people with access to classified information about the interrogation program have come to very different conclusions about its effectiveness. i want to share this with you. for example, today in "the washington post," jose rodriguez, the former director of the national clandestine service, wrote, i was intimately involved in setting up and administering the cia's enhanced interrogation program. i left the agency in 2007 secure in the knowledge that not only our program worked, but that it was not torture. then you have senator dianne feinstein, who had access to millions of pages of evidence. she came to a very different conclusion. she said in a statement, quote, the cia did not first learn about the existence of the osama
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bin laden courier from detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. instead, the cia learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location, through means unrelated to the cia detention and interrogation program. michael morell mainly agreed with her saying the impression that enhanced interrogation was the key to finding bin laden is false, and he also said whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved. so, david corn, how are we going to resolve it? >> i think the acting director is wrong. it can be resolved if you have enough information. and what the senate intelligence committee did that is chaired by senator dianne feinstein looked at, as you noted, millions of pages of cia records, and they had a whole investigation into
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cia interrogation practices, and they produced a report that came out a few weeks ago that was 6,000 pages long on the cia detention practices. i know you're dying to read that report, as i am, but it happens to be classified. but she and senator levin and john mccain have put out statements saying that their report -- this is part of what you just read -- indicated to them that there was basically nothing that came from enhanced interrogation, what i would call torture, waterboarding, that was significant in finding bin laden. and so what they've done, what they've done on the committee is they've asked acting director mike morell to send them whatever information he shared with the filmmakers to see if there was any sort of misleading going on there. you can see that mike morell was trying to walk a line between what jose rodriguez says, people who worked in the cia who did this sort of reprehensible
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actions, and what the investigation found, which is based on the cia's own records. >> roger, here is, i think, an area of common ground, and i have paid close attention to this issue. the ammar character in the first half hour appears to be tied to mohamed al kahtani, who would have been the 20th hijacker. was he waterboarded? no. was he treated with enhanced interrogation? he was. did he give up the name of the courier? apparently he did. in so far as that was the representation, it would seem accurate. >> i think there's a lot of truth to that. there's a lot of fast and loose with the actual events and how they're portrayed. khalid sheikh mohammed was given enhanced interrogation, and he was waterboarded. i think there is a difference between the two. waterboarding did not produce any actionable intelligence. it's arguable whether or not any enhanced interrogation did as well because it's all still classified. so the people trying to take two and two here and come up with four in fact is really 200. >> i'm glad you brought that up. you will want to see this.
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ali soufan was an interrogator for the fbi who was successful getting information from al qaeda detainees using noncoercive means. listen to what he told "60 minutes" about what happened after a cia interrogator showed up to take over the questioning of one of the detainees he'd been dealing with. >> supposedly he's an expert in the field, so i asked him, do you know anything about islamic fundamentalism? he said no. have you ever interrogated anybody? no. he basically said, no, he knows human nature. >> and how does he react to this? >> he basically stopped cooperating. >> the information dried up? >> yes, totally. >> and also in the interview with "60 minutes," jose rodriguez conceded enhanced interrogation failed to get key pieces of information from the most senior al qaeda detainee in u.s. custody, ksm, khalid sheikh mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. here that is. >> the truth is about khalid
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sheikh mohammed, you really didn't break him. >> why do you say that? >> he didn't tell you about osama bin laden. he didn't tell you how to get him. didn't tell you how to find him. >> some of these people were not going to tell us everything. >> so you don't break them, and they told you lies. >> there is a limit to what they will tell us. >> here is what i had heard. that khalid sheikh mohammed told you the courier had retired and threw you off the scent for a while. >> that was the one secret he was going to take to the grave, and that was the protection of the sheikh. he was not going to tell us. >> so, david corn, there are two of the principals, ali soufan and jose rodriguez, telling significantly different stories. how are we to sorts this out? >> mike isikoff and i wrote a
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book called "hubris" going into the case of al libi who the fbi was getting information from. the cia came in and took him away from the fbi. he ended up in an egyptian cell, and it wasn't just that he didn't give information that was useful. he gave false information. he cooked up a whole story that saddam hussein was working with al qaeda and training them to use chemical weapons, and george w. bush, president of the united states, used that information, which ended up being false, to sell the war in iraq. so sometimes this stuff not only doesn't work, but it goes in the opposite direction, and this is why i'd love to read that 6,000-page report. >> so would i. david, speaking of going in the opposite direction, let's remind everybody, this is the movie that critics of the president feared would cement his re-election. it was supposed to be a valentine to president obama being released in october of the presidential year, and he's a bit player at best. he's not even in the movie. there's a portion of the "60 minutes" interview, and it's of no consequence. people should go see it and make up their own minds as to what they make of it all. thank you, roger cressey. thank you, david corn. >> sure thing. up next, no one works it like vice president joe biden. that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] coughequence™ #8. waking the baby.
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if wa apartthe already grea and completely reimagined it? ...with best-in-class combined mpg... and more interior room than corolla and civic? ...and a technology suite with bluetooth, navigation and other handy stuff? yeah, that would be cool. introducing the all-new nissan sentra. it's our most innovative sentra ever. nissan. innovation that excites. now get a $169-per-month lease on a 2013 nissan sentra. ♪ former arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords is in newtown, connecticut, today. she's having a private meeting with the families of victims of last month's sandy hook shooting massacre. giffords stepped down from congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery after being shot in the head at a campaign event in tucson. you will remember that six people were killed in that attack two years ago. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." vice president joe biden, as he swore in new senators yesterday, was absolutely relishing the job of being a politician. let's watch him work the room. >> hey, mom. >> hey. >> how are you? good to see you. i'm joe biden. guys, other than my mother, this is the finest lady i've ever known. you know this lady?
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>> i met her. >> how are you doing? she is the best. she is the best thing to come here. i have been here for 200 years. you're a good looking bunch. i want you next to me. you got a smile that lights up the whole chamber. come on, sis, get in here. >> this kind of schmoozing and glad handing is innate to some politicians and torture for others, and it's often the key ingredient in a politician's success. some politicians have it and some don't. the vice president, he's got it. joining me "the washington post's" dana milbank and managing editor of thegrio.com, joy reid. you know, joy, he's being criticized in some quarters. they're ridiculing this and saying look at this phony biden. i'm sure to ask the people who were there and on the receiving end of those greetings, they were probably elated to be in his company. >> absolutely. and you know what, michael? it's funny in an age where people hate washington and hate politicians, here is a guy you can actually like. here is a guy who seems like a regular person, who seems like somebody who would be approachable who would be fun to be around. at a time when washington is at
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its low ebb of popularity, i think it's great to see at least one guy enjoying his job. >> dana, earlier today the vice president's son beau talked about his father's style. here is what he said. >> he's the same person at home. the same person at home depot. the same person in the halls of congress. i think that's why he's so successful among democrats and across the aisle with republicans over the course of 36-plus years on the national stage. >> what do you think, dana milbank? make sense? >> yeah, michael. i think the appeal is that it's not that he was particularly brilliant or funny. in fact, some of the things he said, if you played more of the tape, were just bizarre. some of them were sort of close to the edge in terms of taste. but you can never say that joe biden is being affected. he's just out there saying whatever comes to his mind. he's sort of like this giddy guy at a party who may have had one or two too many. guy at a party who may have had one or two too many. so in a time when everybody seems to be guarding themselves, and certainly if you look at the other politicians we're covering these days -- the president, the
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senate majority leader, minority leader, very buttoned downed guys. and then you have joe biden, very, very different. >> the guy at the party who may have had one too many, you still want him at the party. >> oh, yeah, he is everybody's favorite uncle. >> mitt romney campaigning this year in pennsylvania. less than the consummate politician when he commented on the cookies from a local bakery. let's watch this. >> i'm not sure about these cookies. they don't look like you made them. did you make those cookies? you didn't, did you? no. they came from the local 7-eleven, bakery or whatever. >> it just didn't come naturally to him, joy. >> notal at all. and a cinematic theory of politics that since the television age, the politicians who do well kind of have that hollywood quality. so jfk, people who were in that age when there was a grandeur to hollywood, if they had that kind of grandeur like a ronald reagan, a kennedy, they did well. but now hollywood is more accessible. you can talk to them on twitter.
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so we like people that are on like "clerks." the politician that seems like a regular person, who seem approachable tend to do well. mitt romney was awkward in either of the venues. he just doesn't know how to come across on television or in person. and it shows and it's painful to watch. >> let's implement ma we'll call the biden scale. jfk on the stump. dana milbank, did he have that quality or not have the quality? >> i suspect jfk would have been chewed up today perhaps because we certainly rightly revere him for his quick wit and his gift as joy was saying on television. but i don't think would have seen him in the same retail politics capacity we're talking about now, and we would have picked him apart i think. >> joy reid, here is the gipper on the stump. did ronald reagan have the same type of quality? >> i totally disagree with dana on jfk. he had the it factor. we would have known more of his scandals.
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reagan had it too. he was an actor. he knew how to do the ceremonial duties of president, whatever you thought of his job performance. >> ladies and gentlemen, i present you with the gold standard. i think we'll agree on this. there he is, the big dog. dana milbank, he has that quality? >> right. it's hard to hear the name bill clinton without immediately thinking "i feel your pain". he is the human empath. that's the standard by which all since have been judged and have failed. >> you mentioned bill clinton in a funny way and a good way. i think of "snl" and him jogging through a mickey d's in a sweatsuit. >> no matter what he did, it was classic bubba. elvis is definitely at the top of the scale. >> i love bush 41. i don't know i can say he had it. but bush 43, we'll put the image up of him working the stump. i think he had those characteristics. joy, would you disagree or agree with that? >> again, "clerks." that's all i'm going to say. he is the regular dude you know
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even if you don't think he is too compliment. >> came out of yale and harvard business school, but had the ability to convey himself as the ordinary man, the common guy. >> one more. he might be worth 100 million more today than he was last week. vice president and presidential candidate al gore. not a guy who has that quality? >> no. he was in romney territory. he had that sort of patrician bearing. he always seemed stiff and uncomfortable in his own skin. and that comes across so painfully on television. >> joy reid, dana milbank, we appreciate you being here. >> thanks. when we return, what you think about the new movie ""django unchained." heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do.
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let me finish tonight with this. over the christmas break, i saw quintin tarantino's new movie "django unchained." you know him from pup fiction, reservoir dogs and "inglourious basterds." this is worth the price of admission. after i saw it, i tweeted doubt spike lee would be upset if he watched. it's twisted, engaging, farcical, and judging, but mostly a condemnation of slavery. i was struck by spike lee saying i would not see the movie. i can't speak on it because i'm not going to see it. the only thing i can say is it's disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film. no doubt he was making reference to the frequent use of the n word in the movie. tarantino responded in an interview he did with harvard
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professor louis gates. he said personally i find the criticism ridiculous because it would be one thing if people were out there saying i you use it much more excessively in the movie than it was used in mississippi in 1850. nobody is saying that. if you're saying, that you're simply saying i should be lying, i should be watering it down, i should be make it more easy to digest. no, i don't want it to be easy to digest. i want it to be a big gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water. jamie foxx leads an all-star cast playing django, a freed slave turned bounty hunter. they team up to kill the murdering, thieving brothers and then to free django's wife held at a mississippi plantation owned by leonardo dicaprio's character, and the plantation is called candyland. does it sound insane? well, it is. it's quintin tarantino. but he does a masterful job of
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depicting the deplorable history of slavery. foxx recently did a joke in an opening monologue on "snl" about how it was great to kill all the white people in the movie. believe me, you want his character to kill the white people who enslave him in the movie there are many a-list actors in the movie. but the one who steals the show in my view is samuel l. jackson. he plays a house slave at dicaprio's plantation, and he is a vile character. he is smart. he is arguably the smartest character in the movie. he has been corrupted, he has turned on his own, and he is black. so this is not exactly some hate whitey movie either there is something in "django unchained" to offend everybody. the film packs a powerful message. and like i said, spike lee ought to see it. four stars. that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" from new york. president obama needs your help to protect the big three. i'll show you how tonight.
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this is "the ed show." let's get to work. >> i suspect that on social security we've got a somewhat similar position. >> new reporting on the fiscal cliff negotiations is alarming defenders of social security everywhere. senator bernie sanders responds here tonight. >> okay, now comes the debt ceiling. i think that is frankly a dead loser. >> newt gingrich warns republicans to quit hostage taking. but another big-time senator refuses the advice. congressman tim ryan, gene robinson and howard fineman on the republican deception on the debt. 67 house republicans vote against disaster relief for new york and new jersey residents. we'll detail the shame of paul ryan and the sandy 67. plus barney frank wants back into congress. and bill o'reilly does his best archie bunker. >> asian people are not liberal
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by nature. they're usually more industrious and hardworking. >> tonight actor george takei joins me to set o'reilly straight. good to have you with us tonight. thanks for watching. we told you how republicans are out about the way the debt ceiling works. today we saw the next phase of their misinformation campaign. tea party ron johnson went on msnbc this morning and hammered the president when it comes to spending cuts. >> president obama and the democrats have no intention. as a result, they have no plan to reduce the deficit, to reduce government's control in our lives. this isn't going to go away. we're not going to solve this thing, unfortunately, because president obama has no intention of solving it. hasn't given us a plan. this is going to go on time and time and time again. >> all right. let's be clear what republicans are talking about when they say spending cuts. they want major cuts to the big three, medicare, medicaid and social security. if overall spending was the issue, there wouldn't be a problem. president obama already signed the 2011 budget control act, which included